22 Sep 2010

PNG landowners summoned to court to explain apparent backdown on tailings disposal

7:46 pm on 22 September 2010

Reports from Madang in Papua New Guinea indicate that legal action to stop the Chinese owned nickel producer, Ramu NiCo, from building an offshore tailings disposal system is being dropped.

The three landowners bringing the case had hoped to have an injunction stopping the construction made permanent, but they're reported to have changed lawyers and notified the court by facsimile that the action was being dropped.

An activist from the NGO Act Now, Effrey Dademo, says the plaintiffs had told their previous lawyer on Sunday they were set to go ahead with the trial, but then disappeared.

"Yesterday the court was informed that there was a fax from a law firm in Port Moresby that the plaintiffs had actually changed lawyers and they're withdrawing from the case. So what the judge did, he ordered that the three plaintiffs appear in court and explain to the court why they withdrew at the final hour."

Effrey Dademo says the plaintiffs have appeared today and that the case is likely to run into Thursday before its known if it will be withdrawn.